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Do Parrots Like To Cuddle? (Cuddling Is NOT What You Think!)

Last Updated on March 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Parrots don’t snuggle up in your lap like cats and dogs. Pet parrots cuddle by rubbing their beaks against you, nibbling the skin, preening your hair, and nestling against your neck.

The cuddliest parrot species include conures, cockatiels, budgies, quaker parrots, lovebirds, and cockatoos. Of course, personality and temperament determine whether a bird will be loving.

Never embrace a parrot tightly, as it could fracture a bone, inhibit breathing, and invoke panic.

How Parrots Show Affection To Humans

Parrots are favored animal companions due to their loving nature, broad spectrum of emotions, ability to talk, intelligence, fun-loving personalities, and long lifespans.

According to Anthrozoös, pet parrots fulfill humans’ social needs through affection, conversation, and playfulness. Of course, parrots also show warmth in different ways.

These gestures don’t always mirror the ways humans show fondness. For this reason, we sometimes overlook subtle gestures of love from parrots. These include:

  • Rubbing their beaks on us.
  • Nibbling our skin.
  • Singing or making happy noises.
  • Seeking your company.
  • Regurgitating food on you.

Unfortunately, regurgitation can signify that a lone parrot sees you as its mate.

Nuzzling

The parrot may get close to your neck and rub its beak against you. It may even ‘kiss’ by pecking the skin without pressure. Parrots reserve this for those for whom they have great fondness.

Parrots usually nuzzle against your face, which they identify due to the placement of your eyes and mouth. It’ll be the same as when parrots nuzzle or preen each other’s faces.

Given that the face is such a delicate area, especially for birds, this signifies trust and affection. The receiving parrot knows it won’t be harmed by another bird accessing this vulnerable space.

Calling And Noises

Parrots develop contact calls for their flock, ranging from squawks to screams, to ensure their companions are safe. The longer you ignore the parrot, the louder its contact call will become.

Cooing, singing, and purring prove that the parrot cares about you.

Nips And Movements

Parrots that want to show affection move their mouths. This includes:

Gentle nips (not hard bites) are given to parrots’ favorite people, usually their caregivers.

Regurgitation

Wild parrots feed their young, mates, and closest friends this way. As a human, having food regurgitated on you is undesirable but implies a close bond.

Trust

Trusting actions, like preening, are reserved for a parrot’s closest friends and companions. Bonded mates, who trust each other implicitly, will exchange grooming rituals.

Most Cuddly Parrots

Parrots are affectionate to humans once they’re closely bonded. However, some parrots are more likely to show their feelings than others. Cuddling takes a unique form, usually involving:

  • Nuzzling against the neck.
  • Hiding inside your shirt.
  • Playing with your hair.
  • Bumping you with its beak.
  • Kisses the lips.

If you want a pet that shows affection, these huggable parrots are recommended:

Conures

conures

Friendly and cuddly, conures (Psittatus solstitialis) have larger-than-life, attention-seeking personalities.

Conures are affectionate toward their flock. This is also reflected in their behavior with their bonded human family.

They enjoy petting, handling, and perching on shoulders. Of course, all conures’ personalities are shaped by their personalities and life experiences.

The most affectionate pet conures include:

  • Aratinga conures.
  • Jenday conures.
  • Green-cheeked conures.
  • Patagonian conures.
  • Sun conures.

Conures like preening human hair and beards, nibbling with their beaks to show affection.

Cockatiels

Cockatiels

Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) are medium-sized birds from the cockatoo family. They’re often called weiro birds.

Cockatiels are very expressive, showing their affection through various movements and songs. Once they bond with their owners, they’ll constantly seek attention.

A unique aspect of the cockatiel is the crest atop its head, which indicates its current mood. A pressed-down crest means it’s on guard or hostile. When its mohawk is standing upright, it feels suspicious.

Their moderate size means getting bitten by a cockatiel isn’t overly uncomfortable. They grow nervous in unfamiliar environments but come out of their shells once given time to adapt.

Quaker Parrots

Quaker Parrot

Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) are intelligent and social birds that can bond closely with their owners.

Most like cuddling and petting, but some Quakers become defensive and possessive over their cage, toys, and possessions.

Quakers dislike being left alone for too long. They adapt well to family life but may prefer to be the only pet. When upset, Quakers grow noisy and disruptive.

Some U.S. states (like California and Hawaii) prohibit the ownership of Quaker parrots.

African Grays

African grays (Psittacus erithacus) are social and intelligent parrots that form close relationships with humans.

They’re highly attuned to their owners’ emotions but need frequent play sessions and undivided attention to stay happy.

African gray parrots sometimes become one-person birds. The entire family must be involved in their care to avoid this issue.

They enjoy some cuddling but prefer head scratches and rubs. Keep petting sessions short, noting if the bird grows unsettled.

Budgerigars

Budgie

Budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) are among the most beginner-friendly parrot species.

They’re the most popular pet species due to their diminutive size, array of eye-catching colors, and affectionate nature.

Budgerigars are outgoing and friendly birds, but this energy will be intensified around their favorite person.

Budgies can recognize people. This is evidenced in their willingness to snuggle up against your neck. Once there, budgies pick at earrings and tug at hair with their beaks.

Their tiny beaks are unlikely to harm humans, but all animals should be supervised around kids.

Despite being larger, most people find English budgies more relaxed than American budgies.

Cockatoos

Cockatoos (Cacatuidae) are among the most affectionate parrot species due to their parents’ love, care, and protection.

The most cuddly cockatoo species include:

  • Moluccan cockatoos.
  • Umbrella cockatoos.
  • Bare-eyed cockatoos.
  • Blue-eyed cockatoos.

A cockatoo’s fondness for fuss means it’ll reciprocate with cuddles, gentle nibbles, and preening behavior. These outgoing birds need regular attention.

They make good family pets, but cockatoos have a nasty bite if they’re scared or startled. To avoid getting nipped, learn the warning signs (eye pinning, puffed-up feathers, crouching, etc.)

Hyacinth Macaws

Hyacinth Macaw

These enormous blue parrots are the largest of their kind, reaching over 40 inches in length.

Hyacinths are among the most cuddly and affectionate parrot species. Considered friendly macaws, they love spending time with their human owners.

Hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) must spend time outside their cage in a parrot-safe room. This should be paired with ongoing training for socialization and development.

Hyacinths are loyal and grow excited when they see you. Consequently, you may find the parrot vocalizing or flapping its wings when you enter the room.

Hyacinth macaws are hard to acquire because of their vulnerable status. Due to their high price tag, size, and advanced emotional needs, they’re unsuitable pet birds for beginners.

Hyacinth macaws have a strong bite force, so note their negative body language and vocalizations.

Lovebirds

Despite being social parrots who live in flocks, Lovebirds don’t need a companion to be happy and contented.

Lovebirds (Agapornis) bond closely with humans. If you invest time into the relationship, you can establish a deep bond.

A trusting lovebird will snuggle up against you.

These playful parrots may attempt to unfasten jewelry, tug at hair, or gently nibble skin. Lovebirds also show affection by chattering and whistling, vocalizing when you’re in the room.

The types of pet lovebirds include:

  • Peach-faced lovebirds.
  • Fischer’s Lovebirds.
  • Black-Cheeked Lovebirds.
  • Madagascar lovebirds.
  • Lilian’s Lovebirds.
  • Black-Masked lovebirds.
  • Swindern’s Lovebirds.
  • Red-Faced Lovebirds.
  • Black-Winged lovbirds.

Lovebirds are devoted and loving birds, attaching themselves unwaveringly to human owners. This devotion means there’s a tendency to show jealousy toward others.

My Parrot Isn’t Affectionate

Even if you get a cuddly parrot species, it may be disinterested in snuggling.

Whether the parrot is affectionate or not depends on the following factors:

  • Temperament.
  • Socialization.
  • Health status.
  • Cage size and dimensions.
  • Diet.
  • Cage mates.
  • Attention.
  • Trust.

Insufficient Time Together

Parrots’ intelligence means they can form deep, complex bonds with humans.

The following factors can affect your relationship:

  • Rarely sees you.
  • Doesn’t play with you regularly.
  • Hasn’t been well-trained.
  • Someone else feeds it.

Developing a parrot-human bond takes time and effort.

Damaged Trust

Parrots take a breach of trust seriously, so they may become less affectionate if:

  • Accidentally startled or hurt.
  • Another pet or person gets more attention.
  • You fail to provide a suitable diet or feed them infrequently.
  • Seldom allowed out of its cage.

If a parrot was owned by someone who mistreated it, and you resemble that person in some way (similar hair, clothing, fragrances, etc.), this can lead to trust issues.

Not A Favorite Person

If you share care responsibilities, the parrot may choose a favorite person. It’ll be more willing to cuddle with that person over anyone else. It won’t be as warm and affectionate if that person isn’t you.

Personality And Temperament

Regardless of species, it may not be in the parrot’s nature to snuggle up to people. If this is the case, strengthen your bond with the parrot to see if it warms up to you.

If you get a second same-species parrot to keep it company, this will likely affect your relationship.